Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What To Register For Your New Babe

When I thought about what I wanted to bring into our home for baby, I wanted to keep it very simple. But when you are expecting your first baby you don't usually know what to register for. What do you actually need? Now that my babe has been around for a few months I can tell you what has and hasn't been useful. What we have bought since he moved in with us and what we could have lived without.

*Tip! I used myregistry.com to register. You can register from anyplace you want, even etsy, and it all goes onto one registry. I did get the complaint from some friends that they didn't like how many of the things they had to buy online. So keep that in mind when registering. Some people love to go to a store to pick something out - so make sure when you are registering for goods from Target that there are products that are sold in the store verses online only.


I didn't buy any pregnancy books or baby books before Theo was born. Instead I checked out TheBump.com on a regular basis to see how baby was developing each week and get tips on what I should and should not be doing.

I was more interested in reading books written on parenting than I was how to survive pregnancy and how to care for an infant.

Bringing Up Bebe - This is written by an American mother living in Paris and how she experiences the differences between American and French parenting. I really liked this book.

French Kids Eat Everything - Again, an American mother moves to France with her family and discovers how the French manage to feed children without endless battles and struggles with pickiness.

Simplicity Parenting - A wonderful book about raising calmer, happier children with less. Read this. 


Stroller - We got the Maclaren Techno, but didn't actually use it for the first few months. I started using it when he was around 3 months old. Before that we used the stroller our Graco Carseat could snap into. That held his little body more snug and he could face me, something he can't do in the Maclaren. I didn't know much about stollers, and now wish we would have gotten something that fit our lifestyle better. The Maclaren is great if you want a stroller that is easy to fold up small and throw in the car. Or if you live in an apartment building that doesn't have an elevator, or you are scared of elevators... It's light weight and folds up pretty compactly. However, if you live in the city and need to be able to walk to the grocery store and load the groceries onto it - it's not the ideal stroller.

Update: When Theo was a year old we got a Running Stroller and I am so happy we did. It is SO much easier to walk with. If you are going to walk with your baby a lot - invest in a nicer stoller. The BOB ones work great.

Carseat - Our original plan was to buy the Maxi-Cosi Pria carseat because it would work till he was 70 lbs. Then we got a free infant carseat from my aunt and decided to wait on the Maxi. Unfortunately, baby wouldn't fit in the carseat and we couldn't leave the the birth center with it so Isaac had to run to the store and buy one of the only carseats they had, a Graco infant seat, and that is what we used for the first few months. He hated every moment in the car, which gave me very high anxiety levels. So, I was praying that a new carseat would make car rides more enjoyable.  Thankfully my prayers were answered. When baby outgrew the Graco at 5 months and we bought the Maxi-Cosi and he loves it. Freedom.

Baby Wearing - We love our Ergo and used it a ton during the first 3 months of baby's life. A friend loaned me her infant insert which is a must until baby has strong and consistent neck control. Lately though, we have both been using our Sakura Bloom Slings to wear the little guy. Now that he is holding his head up it's easier to use the sling and so much prettier (sorry Ergo). We have wheat and driftwood but there are so many pretty colors. We use the slings around the house, at parties, or if we go out to run errands. The Ergo is more comfortable if I go on long walks or outings because it has padded straps that go over both shoulders and it sits on the hips, so weight is distributed well. Whatever you like more - we really love both!

Baby Monitor - Many people adore their baby monitors but we don't use ours. That probably is because we live in a small space so I can always hear him. However, being a new mom means that I constantly tip toe into the room when he is sleeping to make sure he is breathing, so setting up our video baby monitor might actually be useful. But hey, then I wouldn't get the exercise.

Update: This totally depends on your home. When I stay with my mom I use a baby monitor because her house is bigger and our room is upstairs. 

Tip: When we go to someones house and baby needs to nap, we downloaded an iPhone app that works as a baby monitor. You need two iPhones so you can leave one where baby is sleeping and take the other with you. We downloaded this free one, but there are a few you can buy too.

High Chair - I got a Stokke Tripp Trapp after months of reading how much people love them and struggling with spending that much on a high chair. I am so happy I did. It's definitely worth the money. It will grow with him into adulthood, they don't really lose their value and are lovely pieces of furniture. I would rather spend a little more on something I enjoy looking at and functions better. Theo is so excited to be at the table with us now and I can also bring it into the kitchen when we are cooking. I am so happy about it that Isaac jokes he will catch me sipping wine with it by candle light late one evening. He might.

Update: We also have a red Ikea one that we have at my moms house now. They work great too. I love the Stokke because it will grow with him and last through more babies - but it's spendy.

Stoller Blanket - I didn't get a stroller blanket. Instead we bought this little velour suit from Burts Bees Baby. It was too big for him at first, but it still kept him warm and there was/is room to grow. It doesn't get too cold in Portland and works just fine paired with a blanket. It should last us through winter.

Make sure you either get a warm suit or a stroller blanket if you plan on walking in the cold weather!

Boppy Pillow -  This wasn't on my registry, but thankfully a friend bought me a baby lounger. I sat on it a lot after birth because I had an injured tail bone and it helped move much of my weight off of that area. Baby also sat in it all the time. I would often sit him in it while I ran a bath so he could listen to the tub fill - now that he is starting crawl (6 months) he rolls off of it as soon as possible to explore the area around the toilet. Sigh.


Blankets -  I don't know if you can have too many blankets. I think we have 8 blankets and 5 muslin swaddles and we use all of them. I bought our white aden + anais swaddles, but the rest of the blankets came as gifts. People love to make blankets, so before you go out and stock up, wait and see what you get as gifts. The swaddles get messy quickly with leaks or spit up - so having 5 was helpful.

Right now our main wrapping blanket is my own baby blanket. I love that he can use it too!

Crib - We went for a Babyletto Grayson Mini Crib to fit our small space. I like it a lot because it's small and nice to look at - but baby rarely sleeps in there. He usually naps in our bed instead of the crib.

One concern I have is that I have a very tall baby. He is getting very big at 6 months and hits the sides of the crib with his arms if he isn't wrapped up. I am not sure how much that matters just yet…

It depends on the kind of person you are, but if you are fairly confident your little one will just end up sleeping with you until they are big enough for a toddler bed or Montessori style bed on the floor, you might want to skip the crib all together. If I knew what I know now, I might not have bought one at all.

Crib Mattress - I bought the Naturepedic Organic Mini Crib Mattress. No complaints! I feel safe with baby laying on it.

Crib Sheets -  We have the Naturepedic Organic Mini Crib Sheets. We bought two.

Noise - We didn't buy a noise machine but I did download white noise wave sounds on my phone. If baby is asleep in our room sometimes I leave my phone in there with him with white noise waves playing.


Clothes - Baby wears mostly Burts Bees Baby clothes. We love that their baby clothes are so simple, fairly inexpensive, and they are made out of organic cotton.

I buy all of baby's onesies from them and love how soft they are. I stocked up on (not soft) white Carter onesies before baby was born, but barely used them and have now gotten rid of all the ones I bought in bigger sizes.

Theo was born in July - so for the first month he pretty much hung out in a diaper. We wrapped him up a lot, but it was hot and we were home, so he didn't wear clothes that often.

How many outfits should you have? We don't have our own washer and dryer - so we do our laundry maybe once a week and he goes through about 11 onesies, 5 leggings (or pants), 6-7 pajamas, and 2-3 sweaters.

I like American Apparel's baby clothes for their simplicity and because they are made in the USA. We also have some cute little outfits from Zara.

Hygiene & Health

Baby Soap - We use Burts Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash and Baby Bee Bubble Bath.

Hooded Towel - Another Burts Bees buy, the Snuggle Me Hooded Towel is great, but runs a little small. It was good for a newborn, but can't wrap my 20 lb 6 month old in it very well. It is soft and sweet though for those new babies! And it's organic cotton. Another thumbs up.

Diapers - Okay. So, I jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon long before I got pregnant and once I knew I would finally need to buy diapers for a little person I opted for G Diapers; mainly because their website was more user friendly than some of the others I found. I also loved that you could use flushable inserts for those times you were on the go.

We used our G Diapers for the first 2 months and had to come to terms with using disposables. It was just too much work when we don't have our own washer and dryer. Plus - I was having to wash the whole cloth diaper each time I used them (instead of just the cloth insert) because poop would always leak past the insert and into the diaper. Don't worry if you are going that route, it didn't ever leak out!

Now we buy Earths Best Diapers because they are chlorine, latex, perfume, and dye free and made out of renewable resources. Sometimes we buy Seventh Generation too.

I would recommend G Diaper though if you have your own washing machine. You definitely save money in the long run, and it's better for the planet. Win, Win.

Ps. If you live in Portland, you can find all these diapers at New Seasons. Even the cloth diapers.

Wipes - We make our own wipes with a paper towel role, olive oil, water, and a little baby soap, but we also buy Earths Best Wipes. Leave me a comment if you are curious about making your own baby wipes!

Diaper Creams and Powder - Once again, Burts Bees Baby. We have their baby powdermultipurpose ointment, and diaper ointment but I rarely put these things on my baby. I just let him air dry before putting a diaper back on and that keeps diaper rash away. Even though I like Burts Bees products, au naturel is always better.

Lotion - I am a broken record. Burts Bees again! Baby loves the smell of the lavender lotion after a warm bath. It always puts a big smile on his face.

Finger Nail Clippers - I didn't realize how much babies scratched themselves! You need to keep those nails trimmed down to protect their sweet little faces from their own tiny claws. We use Safety First.

Aspirator - I took a bulb syringe home from the birth center and used that for a few months until I discovered the NoseFrida sitting in our cupboard (Isaac bought it before Theo was born) and will never go back to the bulb syringe. Get a NoseFrida! They work SO much better.

Saline Drops - We use Little Remedies. New babies get stuffy noses, fact. You can drop this salt water into their nose to loosen up the mucus for him to either sneeze out, swallow, or you can suck out with an aspirator.

Changing Pad - We didn't get a changing table, instead we put a Contour Changing Pad on top of an ikea dresser.

I almost didn't get a changing pad because I knew I would just end up changing him on our bed or the floor. I registered for one anyway and as I suspected we only used it for a month or so.

Changing Pad Cover - We got this Aden and Anais changing pad cover. It's cute and soft.

Packs of Cloth Diapers - Not for their little bums this time, we use cloth diapers as burp clothes and basically everything else. They come in handy for pretty much everything. I've even started to use them as handkerchiefs when mine are dirty...

Diaper Dekor - I am going to say it - waste of money. Maybe it's handy for some people, but not us. We just throw diapers in the kitchen trash because we take it out every other day. We don't have a problem with smell. I think you have problems with smelly diaper trash when you have a designated can for diapers and they sit in there for a 5-7 days.

Diaper Dekor Bag Refills - Pain in the ass.

Digital Thermometer

Baby acetaminophen - Again, Little Remedies.

Laundry Detergent - We use Biokleen on the whole family's clothes. It's made in Washington which is nice for an Oregonian that likes to buy local and it's gentle on the earth. We really like it.

Baby Bath - We got a Puj Tub at our baby shower but we only used it three times. After that I just started taking baths with baby. It's wonderful to have skin to skin bonding time with him in a warm relaxing bath. We love it.

You can definitely live without a baby bath unless you are opposed to taking bath's with your babe.

Baby Wash Cloth's - We got a bunch of hand-me-downs.


I breastfeed. I don't use formula so I don't know anything about it or what you need to formula feed.

Nursing Pillow - A friend let me borrow a breastfeeding pillow but I haven't used it. We usually lay down to breast feed so I haven't needed extra support. Lot's of mamas love breastfeeding pillows though!

Breast Pump - The same lovely friend loaned me this Medela breast pump and I use it all the time so I can freeze breast milk.

Oh - and I use the little 8 oz mason jars to freeze the milk instead of plastic bottles or bags. I usually will only fill 3-5 oz in one jar because he doesn't drink more than that and once you thaw it out you  can't re-freeze what is left over. You can use the mason jars later for baby food if you make it yourself and after that - use it for drinking lemonade, or canning, or planting a little succulent, or as a toothbrush holder.. The point is, they are much more versatile than plastic bottles or bags.

Bottles - When we defrost breast milk we use Life Factory bottles. I've used their water bottles for years (well, the same one) and I loved that they are glass instead of plastic. These Mimijumi ones look awesome for breast fed babies though!

Nursing Bras - I have a couple of these Cake ones which are super comfortable, and this Le Mystere one for when I want to feel a little more sexy. Also...Target.

Nursing Tanks - I have this Cake one in black, but I wish I had this one and this one. I have a few long (non-nursing) tanks I wear over my nursing bras that are flexible enough to stretch down when I unclasp my bra to nurse.

Pajamas - I didn't realize how much you leak at night in bed for the first month or three while your milk is regulating. The sheets were always soaked! Buy some bedtime nursing tops to help minimize the leakage!! Target should have some.

Nursing Pads - I stopped using them once my milk regulated, but at first I used Danish Wool Nursing Pads.

Nursing Shirts - I had a nervous breakdown the first month because I had nothing to wear. My maternity clothes were mostly snug fitting - which was fine when they were pulled taught over a pregnant belly, but not so fine on a "just gave birth" belly. Then it seemed like all the loose clothes I had were not nursing friendly. Get some nursing shirts! Honestly, I still don't have any. I have a few outfits I can wear in public that are nursing friendly and but my life would probably feel a little more put together if I had a couple good nursing shirts. Boob and Gap have some that look handy and comfy.

Alternatively or additionally, get some v-necks or loose fitting shirts you can pull down over your breast easily.

A company I love that makes durable mom dresses - many of which are nursing friendly is Sonnet James.

I never ordered from them this company, but next time I go through pregnancy I plan on it. Storq makes comfy basics just for pregnant bodies and you can buy cute little bundles.

Pads - Everyone is different, but I would suggest buying pads to last you 3-4 weeks. Heavy flow pads and regular pads for the first week or two, and then panty liners for the next few weeks.

Diaper Bag - I use an old canvas backpack as a diaper bag and feel like it's a little more stylish, easier to carry, looks normal for a dad to carry, and we already owned it!

Nipple Cream - I bought Wild Carrots Nipple Whip but only used it for the first 5 or 6 days. Nursing made my nipples so raw that first week but after that everything felt fine and the nipple whip hasn't come out again. It's only a few dollars though and was helpful during the first week!


Storage Bins - All of his clothes, diapers, toys and blankets fit in his dresser and a night stand with three 12"x12" drawers. I also bought plastic bins (probably 10"x18"?) and labeled them 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and 9-12 months. That way I can store the clothes I have for him that are still a little big, and pack away the clothes that he has outgrown in the appropriate bin. This way they are organized and labeled for baby number two someday.

Toys - We have a handful of stuffies, a couple of little rattles, and between 5 and 10 teethers.

We LOVE toys from the German company Grimms! We have this awesome rainbow and baby loves it. He isn't old enough to stack it yet - but he bangs it around.. We bought it at our favorite Portland toy store Spielwerk, that's located on N. Williams.

Books - Of course we have the classics, but we are LOVING Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You. It's such a sweet book with great illustrations.

Sun shade - We live in Portland, so we haven't been desperate for a sunshade, but we do have one for the summer.

Update: I never used it but they are probably handy..

Pacifiers - I almost didn't include this at all because I am not a paci fan. Lot's of parents like them though, so you can decide if they are your cup of tea or not.

What We Discovered We Needed Later

A swing. I believe we should wear our babies as much as possible, so I didn't want to invest is a swing at first. That was stupid. I work at home, so as much as I would like to snuggle and go on walks with my baby all (most) of the time, I have a job to do. The swing helped a lot! He has already outgrown it - but it was great for a couple of months. 

A jumper. We got a Graco jumper that hangs in a doorway and it's amazing. I put a mirror in front if it and he has a great time hopping around. We start with tummy time, and when he has had enough of that - he has a gay 'ol time in the jumper.

Chewbeads - I love these and baby loves these. It's a silicone bead necklace you wear for your teething baby. Chewbeads rock!

Pack n' Play - We ended up getting one if these later on. It was sort of handy when visiting relatives, but Theo wouldn't stay happy in it for very long.

Good Luck!! Let me know what you think or what you discovered was or wasn't essential for your babe!


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